SOLEMNITY OF MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD & NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE, 2021
As the mother Church celebrates today the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God on New Year’s Day, I would like to take the opportunity to wish all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2021. I would also like to remind you to be grateful to God for all his blessings; divine providence and protection from sin, accidents, natural calamities, and sicknesses especially from Covid-19. I pray that the Lord Jesus and His Mother Mary may enhance your life during the New Year with Divine intimacy, protection and wholeness of life.
Today’s Feast of Mary, the Mother of God is a very fitting way to start the New Year, calling us to rely on the powerful intercession of our Heavenly Mother.
LESSONS FROM THE SCRIPTURE
Today’s first reading from the book of Numbers assures us the divine blessing for the New Year. The reading reveals to us that Yahweh promises his blessings on those who are faithful and devoted to him like MARY our mother.
The Responsorial Psalm of today (Ps 67) asks God to be gracious to us and asks God to bless us. Like the Psalmist of today, we need to ask God his blessings and rely on the graces of God in this New Year 2021.
In the second reading of today, St. Paul reminds the Galatians and us that God’s Son has pitched his tent among us and has become one of us through Mary, and that it is through Jesus that we have become the children of God and Mother Mary has become the Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church. We are no more slave but children of God.
Today’s Gospel describes how the shepherds spread to all their neighbours the Good News about the birth of Jesus which the angel had announced to them, and how Mary treasured “all these things” in her heart (Lk 2:19). The Gospel also tells us that on the day of his circumcision, the Child was given the name Jesus that had been chosen by God Himself.
Today we honor and have devotion to Mary mainly because God honored her by choosing her to become the mother of Jesus, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, when He took on human flesh and became man, as said in the Bible. The angel said to Mary: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus; He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High…” (Lk 1:32-32). After the angel had appeared to her and told her that she was to be the mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary visited Elizabeth. At Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:42-43). Hence, the Council of Ephesus affirmed in AD 431 that Mary was truly the Mother of God (Theotokos), and in AD 451, the Council of Chalcedon affirmed the Divine Motherhood of Mary as a dogma, an official doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church.
MESSAGES FOR OUR DAILY LIVING
- Let us honour our Lady by…
- By praying the Rosary daily with love and devotion
- By keeping all her big feasts in a special way seeing through them the renewal of our spiritual life
- By fostering liturgical cult of our lady
- By venerating her image as recommended by the teaching authority of the church
- By imbibing her profound reverence in the adoration and deep recollection in the contemplation of God
- By radiating her humility, kindness and thoughtrulness towards our brothers and sisters
- By inspiring in our students, young people, our children full confidence in our lady
- By flying to her for help when the work for souls is hard.
2) Let us make the New Year meaningful by making some meaningful resolutions and having every day
- a) Something to dream,
- b) Something good to do,
- c) Someone to love, the first-person being Jesus.
3) Let us sanctify every day of the New Year:
- a) By offering every morning, all the activities of the day for God’s glory, thus transforming them into prayers,
- b) By asking for the anointing and strengthening of the Holy Spirit to do good for others and to avoid evil,
- c) By remaining faithful to our family prayers, the rosary and Bible reading at night,
- d) By asking God’s pardon and forgiveness for our sins committed during the day and
- e) By seeking God’s special protection during our sleep.
(By Fr Blasius Tete SDB, a missionary in Manipur)
Today, Let’s play a game together… (I know, it will be a bit impractical to play… yet, let’s give it a try) As they say, “there is no harm in trying something to achieve something worthwhile in life!” The name of the game is “Guess the Word!”
Here we go…
All that you need to do is to “Guess which word am I thinking now…!” Yeah, you read it right… Simply guess the Word that I am thinking of… now! Did I hear someone say “God”? Well… You are wrong! “New Year?” … Wrong again!
Hmmm… “Resolution?” … “Cross?” … “Celebration?” … “Chocolate?” … “Christmas?” Sorry… but they are wrong… Another try?… Ok….
“Selfie?” … “Food” … “Suffering?” … “Mass?” … “Books?” … “Flower?” … “Sleeping?” … or some other words?
Well… sad to say… all your guesses turned out to be wrong!
The right answer…. the word that I am thinking of now is… is… “Pencil!”
Did anyone get it right? I doubt… If you ask me, why was I thinking of a “pencil” … I will say, “Well, just simply! No reason” It would have taken you a very long time to guess that word… and probably, you would even have never ever guessed that word!
Not that it was too difficult or something abstract… But simply because there is almost no other way you can think the Word that I have in mind, unless I myself tell it to you! The point is… “The Word that was thought” will be known clearly only if it is “revealed”! … Is it not?
Now let’s take this concept of “Guessing the Word” to the Divine Realm…
We as Human Beings have sought to know and establish a link and relationship with the Divine. We want to – know what is the mind of the Divine… to guess what is the plan of the Almighty…to discern what is the thought of the Supernatural…For this some philosophers sought to crack this code by drawing out many theories… Some sages and prophets spent time in deep contemplation and wrote many literatures… Some noble thinkers dedicated their entire lives to put forward doctrines and teachings… Some of these we call it as religions… Some as way of life… Some as philosophies of life.
But none of them were able to clearly know and discern the Divine. It was just as we played the “guessing the word” game… Many of the guesses were attempted… some were close…yet, none were fully right!
The Word in the mind of the Divine, would be known clearly only if it is revealed! And that spectacular instant of revelation is what we call as Incarnation of the Word!
We read in today’s Gospel reading… John 1: 14, “And the Word became flesh!” The Word in the mind of God took human form in Jesus! Jesus is the visible, the revealed and the manifested Word of God! Jesus is the Son of God… Jesus is God, the Son! Jesus is the Word made flesh… Jesus is God in human flesh!
What is the impact of this most unique and most spectacular event of history… Incarnation? Humanity which had strayed away from God, now has found another chance to be re-united. Human beings steeped in sin, were provided with an opportunity to be saved and redeemed. Humanity is empowered not with abstract human teachings, but by the Divine Person Himself. This is what makes Christianity different from all other ways of life or religions…This is what makes Christianity unique among all other philosophies of life… It is utter absurdity for philosophers, for the Infinite to become finite… It is purely mythical for the naturalist, for the Transcendent to be understood… It is totally unscientific for the rationalist, for Fullness to be reduced to limitedness…
But This is The Truth.
This is the Reality.
This is the Fact.
In Incarnation, the God of Love was now wrapped in human flesh.
– the Almightiness of God moved in a human arm.
– the Love of God now beat in a human heart.
– the Wisdom of God now spoke from human lips.
– the Mercy of God reached forth from human hands.
You and I are the beneficiaries of knowing the answer of this game “Guessing the Word” which humanity was engaged with the Divine, for centuries!
Jesus is that answer!
And Jesus can be the answer to all the problems and difficulties of our lives.
Have we allowed Him – Jesus, the Word – to take flesh in ourselves? Have we permitted Him – Jesus the Word – to have an impact in our lifestyle? Have we consented to Him – Jesus, the Word – to become the centre and totality of our lives?
We are on the last day of the year… and at the threshold of yet another New Year…
As we thank the Lord for the gift of this year 2020…with its ups and downs, with its learnings and experiences, with its joyful events and sad moments.
Let us also realize that… There can be no spectacular resolve, there can be no greater discovery, there can be no better resolution, there can be no higher decision, than to allow Jesus, the Word to take firm and absolute control of our lives!
Are we ready to usher in the New Year- 2021, with Jesus, the Word taking complete flesh in us?
Yes, He is The Only Way… The Only Truth… The Only Life – JESUS, THE WORD REVEALED AND MADE FLESH!
Thank You Lord for the Year 2020. We seek to be Holier and “belonging to You more” in 2021!
(By Fr John Paul Kiro SDB, from Bengaluru)
Readings: 1 Jn 2:12-17; Ps. 95(96):7-10; Lk. 2:36-40
We are on the sixth day of the Christmas Octave. In the first reading of today’s liturgy, St. John addresses to the three age groups – the children, the youth, and the fathers, in short to the whole humanity – regarding the worldly and spiritual things. He exhorts us not to love the things of this world but to love the Godly things because the worldly things such as lust of the flesh and eyes and the boastful pride of life do not come from God and that they are transitory. While those who do the will of God gain eternal life. St. John also reminds us that, the power of overcoming the evil and forgiveness of sins come from Jesus Christ, whose birth we are celebrating in this Christmas Octave.
The Gospel passage of today, taken from St. Luke, is part of the episode of the presentation of Jesus in the temple. This Gospel passage focuses on the joyful experience and the second affirmation (the first by Simeon) of who Jesus is in the temple by prophetess Anna, the return of the Holy Family to Nazareth where Jesus grew up in stature, in wisdom, and the favour of God was with Him.
As St. Luke presents, Anna was a holy widow of advanced age who spent most of her life in the temple worshipping God with fasting and prayer day and night. Her dedication did not go unrewarded. In her old age, God granted her the privilege and joy of beholding and recognizing the baby Jesus as the promised Messiah of the whole humanity as Mary and Joseph present him to the Lord in the temple. She praised God for sending the Saviour to save His people, and certainly for giving her such a great privilege of seeing the Messiah with her own eyes, and she testified to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
We often hear people lamenting, ‘Oh! I am too old for this or that’, or ‘I am too young for this and that’, etc. Technically and humanly speaking, such lamentations are valid to a great extent. However, for God, no one is too old or too young or too inadequate to accomplish His plan, as exemplified in the life prophetess Anna and many other saints. Like in the case of prophetess Anna, God has used Abraham and Sarah, Zachariah and Elizabeth, Simeon, young David and Samuel, etc., in the process of accomplishing His salvific plan.
Therefore, as St. John exhorts us, let us devote our life in cultivating Godly things rather than blindly pursuing momentary worldly things, keeping in mind that our origin is from God and not from this world. May we imitate the disposition of perceptiveness and gratefulness of prophetess Anna in recognizing the presence and grace of Jesus in the different moments of our daily life. May she be an inspiration in our spiritual journey of never ceasing to pray, worship, and serve God with wholehearted dedication.
(By Fr. John Paul Vemo SDB, from Rome)
Readings: 1 John 2, 3-11 and Luke 2:22-35
The Gospel passage of today presents “humility” at its best. The Immaculate Virgin, the mother of Christ, she who had never contracted any impurity, humbly undergoes the rite of purification. On the other hand, the presentation of the child Jesus in the temple is even more significant. Before John the Baptist pointed him out to the world as “the Lamb of God who takes away sin from the world,” it was Mary and Joseph who officially presented him to all humanity. That offering is a priestly gesture, which will find its full fulfillment at the foot of the cross, when the child becomes the victim of expiation to the Father.
The encounter of the old Simeon with the child Jesus is both poignant and prophetic: an old man and a child, the Old Testament and the New Testament, expectation and fulfillment. He takes the child in his arms and, overflowing with joy, blesses God with his song. Now that his eyes have seen “salvation”, he has nothing more to ask of God and he is now ready to go into eternal peace. He understood that the light awaited by all peoples has arisen, the Messiah has come! He then turns to Mary and says: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” In these mysterious words, Simeon summarizes the mission of Christ as the ultimate and supreme testimony of God’s infinite merciful love: a sign of contradiction for those who do not understand that love, but the promise of salvation for those who embrace that love.
But, how did Simeon know all these? He did not recognize the child by himself. It was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Holy Spirit is mentioned three times: “The Holy Spirit was upon him”, “The Holy Spirit had foretold him that he would not see death”, “Moved by the Spirit, he came to the temple”. We too need the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives to be able to recognize the Lord Jesus as the Son of God and accept him as our Lord and Saviour.
(By Fr. Deli David SDB, a scholar in Rome)
Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs
Reading 1:1 Jn 1:5—2:2
St. John testifies that God is light and in him there is no darkness. When we are in darkness, we would be lying if we say that we are in relationship with God. When we walk in light, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. We would be truthful, if we acknowledge that we are sinners. God’s word does not reside in us, if we refuse to accept our sins. Jesus Christ is our advocate with the Father, who will wash away the sins of the world.
Gospel: Mt 2:13-18
After paying homage to the child Jesus, the Magi departed without returning to Herod’s palace. Then, the Angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and advised him to flee to Egypt because Herod was seeking to kill the child. Joseph did as he was instructed. He stayed in Egypt till the death of Herod. Herod was angry and he therefore, ordered to kill all boy children under the age of two. The words of the prophet Jeremiah came true, which said that a lamentation was heard in Ramah and Rachel refused to be consoled as she was weeping for her children who were massacred.
Innocence is a prized quality. We love people who are innocent. Innocence implies absence of malice. Innocent people are nice to interact with. They communicate joy and happiness wherever they are. We see innocence in children. Children are playful and they do not intend to hurt anyone willfully. They accept everyone as they are. I once saw children of different nationalities playing together. There was no distinction based on country of origin, caste, religion, region, language, class, creed, etc. They were just enjoying each other’s company. They were touching each other, hugging each other and playing cheerfully. Can adults have a child-like character? In the Gospel, Jesus clearly tells us that unless we become like little children we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Today, the Church celebrates the feast of the Holy innocents. This feast specially reminds us of the many innocent children who lost their lives because Herod was unable to identify Jesus. Therefore, he killed the new-born children. Herod had lost his innocence. He was an embodiment of evil. The killing of the innocent children definitely brought pain and suffering to their parents. But, the sacrifice helped Jesus to accomplish his mission in this world. Innocent people, while being cherished, are also the ones who suffer a lot. Since their thinking is simple, the complicated people often harass them. Some innocent people voice their objections, but since their opposition is non-violent, the hooligans supersede them. The innocent children who were massacred for Christ were blessed by Christ. Likewise, the innocent people, who undergo unnecessary sufferings will be blessed by the Lord. The joy of being innocent is unparalleled. It may be easy to lose our innocence, but it is difficult to always sustain it. If we are willing to sacrifice our instant gratifications that come from being malicious, then we too will experience the joy of being innocent. Quite often, in our sacrifice, is our joy and happiness.
God blesses you
(By S. Peter)
THE HOLY FAMILY (B)
Genesis 15:1-6, 21:1-3; Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-19; Luke 2:22-40
Timothy Stackpole was a New York fire fighter. In June 1998‚ he was severely injured in a fire in Brooklyn. He had fourth and fifth degree burns over 40% of his body, which needed multiple surgeries and months of painful rehabilitation. He had two goals: to spend as much time as he could with his family‚ and to return to a job he loved. He did! Despite the advice of friends and family, and the fact that he could retire comfortably, he returned to work on 10 March 2001.
On 9/11, Stackpole had just finished duty at the FDNY, but with the first news of the calamity he rushed to the second tower. It collapsed shortly thereafter and took his life. He died forever faithful to his calling and serving the people of his city.
Forever faithful! These two words sum up the thrust of today’s readings, and speak for each character in them.
The first and second readings extol the faith of Israel’s first family. God promises Abraham many descendants. Abraham, though old and childless, “put his faith in the Lord.” God asks Abraham to leave his homeland, and to sacrifice his son. Abraham is unconditionally and forever faithful.
The gospel recounts the faith of the Holy Family. Joseph and Mary present their son in the temple “just as it is written in the law of the Lord.” They did and would undergo difficult times; their son, Simeon tells them, “is destined… to be a sign that will be contradicted.” They remain forever faithful. Simeon and Anna are idealized portraits of the faithful remnant of Israel awaiting the Messiah’s coming.
Forever faithful! That’s the challenge and invitation to our families today… despite all the pressures, tensions, and crises we face.
Will you and I remain faithful to God and to one another despite and in the face of troubles?
Dag Hammarskjold wrote: “When the morning’s freshness has been replaced by the weariness of midday, when the leg muscles quiver under the strain, the climb seems endless, and suddenly nothing will go quite as you wish… it is then that you must not hesitate.”
These words are so apt for our life in family (and in the kingdom!). It requires faithfulness “till death do us part”: a hand on the plough with no looking back, steadfast perseverance, fighting the good fight of faith.
(By Fr Dr Vinod Mascarenhas SDB)
Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr
Reading 1: Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit worked great wonders and signs among the people. Some people belonging to different groups debated with him. Since they could not challenge his wisdom, they were infuriated. But, Stephen looked up intently to heaven and saw God and Jesus standing at his right hand. When he declared this vision to them, they attacked him together. They stoned him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Gospel: Mt 10:17-22
Jesus warned his disciples of the persecutions they were going to face. They will be brought before courts; scourged in the synangogues; brought in front of Governors and kings for his name sake. But, he encouraged them to be fearless, for they will be inspired to speak in the appropriate way by the Holy Spirit. A brother will hand over brother to death and the father his child. Children will be against parents and even put them to death. A disciple will be hated because of Jesus’ name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
Today, the Church remembers the first Martyr for our Lord Jesus Christ, St. Stephen. From the first reading, we understand that Stephen was a disciple who lived exactly as our Lord speaks in the Gospel reading today. He allowed the Spirit of God to speak through him. The consequence: His death in the hands of the persecutors. Following Jesus, death loses its meaning. Death acquires a new significance, namely a new life in Christ. It is quite interesting to note that the birthday of Jesus which we have celebrated yesterday is followed by the death of an ardent disciple of Jesus. Today’s feast also points out that life with all its worries and tensions and accomplishments is short. We have a long life with Jesus, which is more important than the earthly life. The birth and life of Jesus was not for a long time. He barely lived 33 years on this earth. So, it all means that life to which we are all attached so much should be considered just as a preparation for the life to come. In that heavenly life, we shall see Jesus seated at the right hand of his Father. This life on earth with all its suffering should be considered as a period of purification of our thoughts, words and deeds. Life on earth would also mean that we are ready to give it up when we stand for the Gospel. A social activist would want to ensure that the earthly life is well-lived by all. Well, that consideration is correct. But, martyrdom for the person of Christ, is living life to its full. St. Stephen has shown us the path. We need not hesitate.
God blesses you
(By S. Peter)
THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD
TRANQUILLITY AMID TURMOIL CELEBRATION AMID CHAOS
Readings for the Mass During the Night
Isaiah 9:1-6; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14
Readings for the Mass During the Day
Isaiah 52:7-10; Hebrews 1:1-6; John 1:1-18
A city commissioned two artists to paint a picture depicting peace. A distinguished panel would select one to display in the city square.
The first artist unveiled his painting: a beautiful family scene with a farmer back home after a hard day at work, his wife by his side, and his children playing around the hearth.
The judges decided that the picture perfectly depicted peace but looked at the other rendering anyway. It was a raging waterfall under dark skies! In a nook in the craggy rocks there was a branch. On the end of the branch was a bird’s nest with a mother bird, covering her fledglings with her wings and singing amid the turbulence.
The judges declared: “This is peace and celebration amid turmoil.”
That picture portrayed peace; it also realistically depicts Christmas, the birth of the Prince of Peace. But the peace that Jesus brings is not the quiet of an ideal and idyllic home; it is peace despite and amid problems.
That’s the reassurance we and our world need right now. The pandemic has turned our world upside down. The coming of God-with-us brings tranquillity amid turmoil—he covers us with his wings—and gives us reason to celebrate amid chaos.
What we experience today—fear, intolerance, hate crimes, violence, the killing of innocents—is reminiscent of what happened two millennia ago in Bethlehem.
After the birth of Jesus, the angels announced “peace to people of goodwill.” But soon an angel tells Joseph to “take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,” and Herod orders “the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under.”
Peace on earth? Then? Now?
Yes! Peace on earth! We believe—and we must proclaim—with St John: “What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race… and the darkness has not overcome it.”
We must live as people who have seen the light and live by it, whom “he gave power to become children of God.” We cannot live in the darkness; we cannot surrender to it; we cannot relinquish our vocation to love.
We need Christmas.
The Christmas we need is the courage to live as children of the light, and as brothers/sisters of the Prince of Peace. The Christmas we need is the courage to oppose violence and injustice with a love that comes from God.
May we and our world experience tranquility amid turmoil and celebration amid chaos.
(By Fr Vinod Mascarenhas SDB, from Mumbai)
Reading 1: 2 Sam 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
King David shared with prophet Nathan that he wanted to build a temple for the Lord. Nathan agreed with him. But, the Lord told Nathan to remind David that all that David was able to accomplish, it was purely due to the Lord. The Lord made him prosperous and has destroyed all the enemies before him. The wicked shall no more trouble him. The Lord will establish a house for him. He will raise up an heir after him, and will make his kingdom firm. The Lord assured David that his kingdom shall endure forever. His throne shall stand firm forever.
Gospel: Lk 1:67-79
Zechariah was filled the Holy Spirit. He sang the praises of God. He realized that God has kept his promise by sending the saviour into the world. God promised to free us from our enemies and show us his mercy, so that we might fearlessly worship him all the days of our life. About his son John, he said that he will be called a prophet, who has come to prepare the way of the Lord. John will invite people to seek for forgiveness of their sins. God will be like the powerful light that shines on all those who dwell in darkness and he will guide our feet into the way of peace.
One more day, and we celebrate Christmas. The readings remind us of the joy that we are going to experience at Christmas. Jesus will remove the darkness from our lives. He will be our peace. Our fate will be like that of David, as we heard in the first reading. For those of us, who are depressed, or have given up, we are invited to hold firmly on to the Lord. This Christmas is going to be life-transforming. It is easy to give-up. But, it is difficult to stay-on. John the Baptist did it; King David it; St. Joseph did it; and, Mother Mary did it. Down the centuries, a number of fearless Christians also did it. Tomorrow, the Christmas celebration will be a celebration of our remaining firm in the person of Christ. We will experience joy either in beginning or in the middle or at the end. Whenever that time be, our focus is on the person of Christ, for he will give us lasting joy. LET US NOT QUIT. LET US BE FILLED WITH HOPE. ONLY IN JESUS IS OUR PEACE.
God blesses you
(by S. Peter)
Readings: Mi 3:1-4, 23-24; Ps. 24; Lk. 1:57-66
We are on the cusp of concluding the beautiful season of advent and of celebrating the joyful birth of our Saviour, Jesus. On this penultimate day of advent, God promises through prophet Malachi that He will send His messenger, prophet Elijah, to prepare the way before Him. While, the Gospel passage of today presents the joyful occasion of the birth of John the Baptist, the customary circumcision and the naming ceremony, and the miraculous recovering of the voice of Zachariah.
An unknown author narrates of an atheist who wanted to prove to his Christian friends that God does not exist by challenging: “If there is a God, let him prove himself by striking me dead right now.” He pauses for a moment, but nothing happened, and therefore he said: “You see, there is no God.” However, someone in the crowd responded, “No sir, you’ve only proved that God is gracious.”
Yes, “God or Yahweh is gracious” is the meaning of the name ‘John’ (Yohanan or Yohohanan in Hebrew), the name which John the Baptist received from his parents Zachariah and Elizabeth as instructed by the angel Gabriel. This name suits perfectly to John the Baptist because God was very gracious towards this blessed couple by granting them a child in their old age, more so to a woman who was considered to be barren. At the same time, the name itself lays out the project of his life, that is, to proclaim that God has been very gracious towards his people throughout the history, especially in sending His only begotten Son Jesus to save all humankind. This meant for John that he has to prepare and guide people to Jesus as part of his tasks. Thus, John fulfilled the role of the messenger promised by God in the first reading. He is the one who came before our Saviour and prepared the way for His coming. In fact, the angel Gabriel foretells Zachariah that John will be filled by the power and spirit of Elijah (cf. Lk. 1:17), and Jesus Himself testifies that John is Elijah, the promised messenger (cf. Mt. 11:14).
So, what does this episode teaches us? It reminds us that our God is ever gracious and that Christmas is especially a gracious moment for which we must be prepared and not allow to pass by without receiving God’s grace. It also reminds us to have full faith in God’s plan for our life and not doubt like Zachariah for our God is gracious, and all things are possible for our God. Thus, as we help the faithful to prepare for the meaningful celebration of Christmas, let us not forget to spend some time personally examining what else more must I do to receive the graces that the Christmas bring. I take this opportunity to wish you all a gracious, peaceful and happy Christmas!
(by Fr. John Paul Vemo SDB, in Rome)